Motivational beliefs, cognitive engagement, and achievement in language and mathematics in elementary school children
The contextual differences in the patterns of relations among various motivational, cognitive, and metacognitive components of self-regulated learning and performance in two key curriculum subject areas, language and mathematics, were examined in a sample of 263 Greek primary school children of fifth- and sixth-grade classrooms. Age and gender differences were also investigated. Students were asked to complete the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (Pintrich & De Groot, 1990), which comprised five factors: (a) Self-efficacy, (b) Intrinsic Value, (c) Test Anxiety, (d) Cognitive Strategy Use, and (e) Self-regulation Strategies. They responded to the statements of the questionnaire on a 7-point Likert scale in terms of their behaviour in mathematics and language classes, respectively. Moreover, their teachers were asked to evaluate each of their students' academic achievement in Greek language and mathematics on a 1- to 20-point comparative scale in relation to the rest of the class. The results of the study indicated very few differences in the pattern of relations among self-regulated components within and across the two subject areas and at the same time revealed a context-specific character of self-regulated components at a mean level differences. Further, the current study (a) confirmed the mediatory role of strategies in the motivation-performance relation, (b) stressed the differential role of cognitive and regulatory strategies in predicting performance in subject areas that differ in their structural characteristics of the content, and (c) pointed out the key motivational role of self-efficacy. In fact, self-efficacy proved the most significant predictor not only of performance but of cognitive and regulatory strategy use as well. Gender differences in motivation and strategy use were not reported, while motivation was found to vary mainly with age. The usefulness of these findings for promoting greater clarity among motivational and metacognitive frameworks and ideas for future research are discussed.